Sélecteur de langues
Brussels, 27th april 2007
Road safety: European action plan continues to deliver results – target of saving 25 000 lives on Europe's roads by 2010 is attainable
The Commission's European Road Safety Action Plan, launched in 2001, may reach its target on schedule. The aim is to halve the number of fatalities on Europe's roads over the period 2001-2010, reducing the total number of deaths from almost 50 000 to 25 000. The latest figures, released on the occasion of the first European Road Safety Day, show clearly that this ambitious objective was justified: the last 12 months have seen an 8% reduction in fatalities. In 2006, nearly 12 000 lives were saved in the European Union in comparison with 2001.
"Thanks to the concerted efforts of the European Union we can reach our target in 2010, provided we stay on course. There is no guarantee of this, however, so we need to maintain our efforts," said Commission Vice-President and Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot, who reiterated that road safety was a priority of his mandate. Mr Barrot called on all Member States to study the report that has just been published and to draw the necessary lessons from it. "Above all, I urge Member State governments whose figures are alarming to take firm action," he added.
Looking beyond bald figures and statistics on the number of road accident victims, it is essential that we be able to evaluate the performance of countries by means of carefully chosen indicators. Such indicators point to the actual impact of policies and make it possible to improve the way specific problems are dealt with. These results are being presented to a wide public at the first European Road Safety Day.
On this occasion, the Commission is publishing for the first time the results of the "SafetyNet" project, financed under the 6th Research Framework Programme. The project has laid the foundation for a European Road Safety Observatory, and has produced important research on performance indicators for road safety.
The report  focuses on seven road safety performance indicators: alcohol and drug use; speed; seat belts and helmets; the use of daytime running lights; passive safety of vehicles; road infrastructure; first aid for victims. The first three indicators are both the most important and the best documented.
The results from the countries it covers vary greatly. For example:
5% to 30% of road deaths result from accidents involving at least one driver over the legal alcohol limit.
Up to 50% of drivers do not observe speed limits.
67% to 97% of occupants of cars or light vans wear front-seat belts, but only 28% to 89% do so in the back. 20% to 96% of children below the age of 12 use child seats.
Although the protection offered by vehicles (passive safety) is improving from year to year, it is striking to note that the gap between the countries with the best results and those with the worst has not shrunk.
The tables below give an overview of the performance of the various Member States plus Switzerland and Norway with regard to drink-driving, the wearing of seat belts and the use of child seats. As regards data on speeding, the national thresholds are too disparate for a comparative table to be compiled.
The performance indicators are part of the “road safety scoreboard” system, unveiled today at the first European Road Safety Day.
Table 1: Percentage of deaths on the road resulting from accidents involving at least one driver over the legal alcohol limit (unless otherwise stated)
Table 2: Percentage of occupants of private cars or light vans wearing seat belts in the front seat (by day)
* drivers only
Table 3: Percentage of occupants of private cars wearing seat belts in the back seat (by day)
 The report is available on the “road safety” page of the Europa internet website at: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/roadsafety/road_safety_observatory/rspi_en.htm.